Two superb series of paintings of scenes from Goethe’s Faust Part One, by Ary Scheffer and James Tissot.
This new series will travel with Dante and Virgil as they visit Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise, looking at the many masterworks inspired by the poem.
Gretchen and Faust become lovers, but her mother dies as a result of Faust’s sleeping potion, and he kills her brother in a sword-fight.
Faust lusts after the young Gretchen. Mephistopheles sets up a meeting, and the girl is soon in love with Faust, ready to do anything for him. And so she does.
More Western paintings of devils, from William Blake to Cézanne and Gustave Moreau. Devils become much more human, and dangerous.
Faust signs his contract with the devil in his own blood. Paintings by Ary Scheffer and others, and an engraving by Delacroix tell this story vividly.
Viewed as classic and fit for narrative painting, Faust is about good and evil, a powerful story which has inspired powerful paintings.
A protégé of Frederic, Lord Leighton, he joined Dickens’ circle and in 1874 married Kate, Dickens’ youngest daughter.
Used by Joseph Wright of Derby to symbolise knowledge coming from darkness, by Henry Fuseli for the mysterious even supernatural, and Millet and van Gogh for poverty.
Between 1778 and 1815, many narrative painters painted stories from Ossian, based on myths claimed to have been discovered and collected by a Scottish poet, which could well be a hoax. Does it matter?